Trying to cut unnecessary processes and bring coherence into complex activities, Air Works decided to bring BYOD on-board with VMware AirWatch
By Jasmine Desai
“If you take a risk and invest in the technology, it always pays you back,” says Ravinder Pal Singh- Global Chief Information and Technology Officer, Air Works speaking about the BYOD deployment at the organisation. Founded in 1951, Air Works provides engineering, asset management and safety and technology solutions to the commercial and business aviation communities.
Early on, Singh realised that if the organisation had to build state-of-art technology, it had to be done through devices. The first step in the long- winding process was doing a scan of what sort of digitisation had already been done in the company. The kind of data which was coming from aircraft inventory to users and consumed through processes was just not enough and would have led to a huge bottleneck eventually. “This is where BYOD fits in. It was a risky decision because I had to go to various regulatory agencies across India to take their approval,” says Singh. He also decided that the organisation would have a portfolio of applications which would work on any device. He also wanted to cut-off the culture of the company giving mobile devices to their employees. His major aim was to let employees take advantage of very humongous and complex architecture beneath the application portfolio.
The choice of VMware AirWatch for BYOD was not a difficult decision to make. “When Air Works looked for a solution there was no other vendor who had such a mature technology as VMware AirWatch. The interoperability was great, considering that we are just not an Android shop or Blackberry shop etc. Thus, its neutral nature helped us to make our decision faster,” says Singh. Although the usage is very simple, the underlying technology is very complex, which is required to percolate through different layers. BYOD adoption has resulted in immediate visible impact.
“We did not have to struggle with our user-base at all. Our user-base in aviation is very passionate than bankers or IT services guys, and it is a very complex industry. The culture is very different, wherein they are not so much into devices etc. In aviation, if a bug comes in tuning of the engine, then people can die. It is not a software where if a bug comes, one can re-release the software. In this context, I wanted zero-learning curve for the users”, informs Singh.
“BYOD has become an integral part of our working,” he says. For example, if an engineer clicks a photograph in the aircraft, then that photograph goes to an Air Works patented diagnostic software, to find out where the fault is. Then it goes to another module, which has the history of the aircraft and looks if the fault has occurred before. If it has happened before, then it checks who has corrected it and what was the reason for it. As most of these guys carry iPads, if the work schedule needs to be changed it can be done immediately without any lengthy processes in the middle. It immediately hits the invoicing part and the ensuing discussion with the customer is saved on a database in the cloud. All these activities do not take more than 30-40 minutes in terms of real-time exchange conversation and re-planning.
“BYOD is the start-point from an end user perspective and the application portfolio. It has reduced cycle time for most of the operations. The inventory accuracy has increased from 16% to 97.4%. Track and trace process which used to take 3-5 months which is a continuous airworthy process now takes 350 milliseconds,” he mentions tracing the benefits of BYOD.
One of the challenges that the organisation always faced was in terms of hiring skilled people. The probability of finding the right aircraft engineer with the right license and right equipments, and right paths for the right aircraft has improved from 1 % possibility to 7.6 % possibility which is very high. Around 300-400 people use the software, including employees in the hanger. “Out of our 1,100 people, around 800-900 people would be using BYOD solutions across the globe. People who do not use BYOD is mostly due to cultural constraint or because they are contractors,” says Singh.
Air Works has also customised software for internal usage. For example, it has created collaboration tools for its pilots with HoneyWell. Further, the instructions which happen between the hangar and the pilot can be done through the iPad.